Monday, 8 April 2013

No Quarter Presents - Iron Kingdoms: Urban Adventure

No Quarter Presents - Iron Kingdoms: Urban Adventure - Review

So the Iron Kingdoms RPG (IKRPG), by Privateer Press, has been out for a couple of months now, and has been met with good reviews and excitement. I personally still have yet to run a session, but I am eagerly writing up a chronicle for my own games. This means I have been digging into the old D20 books while we await this information to be updated and reproduced in new books with the new rules. But Privateer Press has not just sat there doing nothing. Oh no. They provide support from day one. Online the had a free pdf for the expanded bestiary, and there have been some great support in recent issues of their No Quarter magazine. First we got an adventure (a ghost possessing a steamjack) and some more equipment, and in the more recent issue PP addressed the fuel price issues (something which in the core rulebook was handled badly) and also they gave us rules for ghosts, spectres, and the ghosts of the Elves who died during the Rivening. We also have a new Trollkin career - Bison Riders. Urban Adventure (UA) follows this up in some style. It's a mixed bag of fun, all wrapped up disco fudge (kudos if you get the reference).

UA starts off with some nice new careers that focus on life within the cities,  and in particular these careers are aimed squarely at how non-humans live in human cities. We get Ogrun labor workers, Trollkin pugilists, and Nyss explorers. Extra diversity is never a bad thing. Following this up we get a whole grab bag of new skills. Again all focused on life in the cities. Some new unarmed brawling skills, larceny skills, and social skills. New equipment is introduced, such concealed weaponry, fear gas, and spying gear. We also get a whole load of new combat maneuvers, some grab ones covering dirty, unarmed fighting (fish hooking!) and also a load of stats for improvised weapons! Steamjacks are not forgotten in this book. And again we get a grab bag of new chassis and equipment that over the labor jacks that would be found in the cities of the Iron Kingdoms. They may not all be things design for military use but they sure are nasty (harpoon gun and wrecking ball!).

All of this then sets us up nicely for the main spectacle - the City of Five Fingers. Now if you are the types of gamers that I expect you are, you are more than likely familiar with Pirates of the Caribbean. Of course two great locations in that series of films are the pirate ports of Tortuga and Shipwreck cove. Well take all of that, add in the island geography akin to Venice, and you have the IK city of Five Fingers. It's an Ordic city - barely. The city has been home to pirates and mercenaries ever since the Orgoth left the shores of Immoren, and over time the islands that make up Five Fingers (named for the five water ways that the Dragon's Tongue River splits into) have become a crowd collection of creaking buildings, gambling dens, fighting rings, docks, breweries, mercenary outposts, and crisscrossing walkways. If Corvis is the ghostly city based on Venice, that Five Fingers takes the more mercantile and privateer elements and magnifies it by 100. We get awesome maps of all the islands, and detailed breakdowns of their business and attractions and dangers. We learn about the main gangs and forces that live in these chaotic islands, the 5 pirate lords that watch over it all, and the cults that lurk in the caves and tunnels of the islands. A lot of this information is repeated from the old D20 books, but the presentation plus new rules still make this book worth the money.

Next up in the book is something I really hope to see more of, both in future books, issues of No Quarter, and online - Encounters. What we get are a series of Encounters, things that could occur in the cities of the Iron Kingdoms. You could use them as more random filler to your games, or even use them as the basis for entire plots to episodes or even chronicles. Each encounter gets a brief description, and explanation for how it can be used, and also variations depending upon the experience of the player characters. Rules for characters, thugs, and monsters are provided - the skiggs being a hilarious addition to the game. I really can't wait to see more of these.

Now the next chapter is perhaps my favourite. Thamarites. We get a great discussion of their beliefs and methods, plus a new career - Thamarite Advocate. Now we can either have player characters as Thamarites - even being their own cult - and of course rules for Thamarite NPCs. We of course get new powers, covering necromancy, and also detailed rules on the creation of Thrallls. So with all this we can recreate Alexia from the Witchfire series! This chapter, plus the ghost rules in No Quarter really makes it possible to run horror games in the Iron Kingdoms.

Finally we get some discussion on the laws of the Iron Kingdoms, the punishments that can be expected for crimes, and lastly a new scenario to play out. The adventure is designed the quickly get the players embedded into the complex gang rivalries of the islands, and escalates to a final encounter with a Thamarite sorcerer - something I am eager to use in my own games - and could easily be modified to work for any city setting.

Overall Urban Adventure is a great addition and if anything a must have for IKRPG as it really gives you those extras you need to have a full range of antagonists for your players to fight.

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